This new community-oriented development is making Vancouver homeownership accessible

May 17 2022, 9:25 pm

Living in a metropolis like Vancouver — which is now considered to have some of the highest real estate prices in the world — can make homeownership feel like a pipedream. You can skimp on all the avocado toast and takeout coffee in the world, carefully stash your paycheques into your savings account and still be lightyears away from a down payment. 

If you’re feeling priced out of the market, you’re far from alone. Many families and young professionals are facing an ultimatum: become a lifelong renter or relocate somewhere more affordable. 

But what if it didn’t have to be that way? Ch’ich’iyúy, a new real estate project, is underway in East Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood with an initiative that promises to make homeownership affordable to locals who don’t want to sacrifice proximity and lifestyle. 

Bringing homeownership within reach

As you may have guessed, this isn’t your typical real estate project. In fact, the Ch’ich’iyúy pre-sale offer is the first-of-its-kind homeownership opportunity in Canada.

Down payments on these brand-new studio, loft-style, one- and two-bedroom units are flexible and below the average market down payment rate. A down payment as low as 5% can be made incrementally over time. 

Buyers also qualify based on their annual household income, starting at $48K. Affordability of monthly mortgage payments is also ensured through a monthly payment cap of 30% of your gross household income, which means homeowners don’t have to forfeit their lifestyles. 

Unlike traditional condo ownership, there aren’t any surprises, like the burden of potential building repair costs. The goal is to enable homeowners to build long-term equity, which they can take with them if they sell. 

“In a market that has priced so many people out of ownership, we’re re-thinking the model to bring ownership within reach of renters and doing so in a way that is so much more than just housing,” says Dr. Dave Baspaly, Board Member of the Aboriginal Land Trust. 

A community development quite unlike any other, Ch’ich’iyúy offers the perks of homeownership without the financial precarity. 

Step inside

Taking a peek inside the new studio, loft, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites, you’ll find modern design elements and thoughtful finishes. 

The heart of any home, the kitchen is equipped with custom-designed cabinetry and energy-efficient appliances, including a built-in refrigerator and freezer, microwave, cooktop, as well as an under-counter built-in oven and dishwasher. Its solid-surface counters, matching backsplash, and under-mount stainless steel sink also give the space a contemporary feel. 

Details, like in-suite laundry, sustainably-made vinyl plank flooring, spacious nine ft ceilings, and natural light make the homes functional and inviting.

For a limited time, prospective buyers even have the option of choosing between an oaky “earth” or grey “sky” colour palette. The bright and efficient modern three-piece bathrooms feature a relaxing bathtub.

The bedrooms are designed to be uncluttered, thanks to modular closet systems that maximize storage and allow items to be tucked out of sight. One- and two-bedroom floorplans offer a private deck for relaxing and entertaining, while studios feature an open-air Juliet balcony.

Building an inclusive community

Rendering of Ch’ich’iyúy (Ch’ich’iyúy)

Beyond its comfortable interiors and affordable pricepoint, Ch’ich’iyúy is creating an inclusive, community-oriented atmosphere that celebrates Indigenous Peoples and cultures while welcoming everyone. 

Named for Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn, the Twin Sister mountains (known to settlers as The Lions) that watch over the three Host Nations of xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh). Everything from the development’s namesake to its thoughtful design celebrate and honour Indigenous Peoples and Cultures.

Community spaces are integral throughout the building from the moment you enter the doors and experience Ch’ich’iyúy’s brightly lit lobby and Indigenous-inspired design features.

Attributes, like spacious outdoor hallways and gathering spaces throughout the building are intended to create opportunities for residents to grow, play, and connect. 

The vivid art features and accents also add an element of cultural connection through the Indigenous-created interpretive graphics and large-scale art pieces that adorn several of the communal spaces. The building’s exterior will also feature the artwork of an Indigenous artist inspired by the story of Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn. The building’s abundant amenity spaces are also intended to foster a sense of community.

On the eighth floor is the urban agriculture deck, where residents can plant their own gardens and dine among the lush greenery with views of Strathcona. The multi-purpose wellness deck, on the 11th floor, is a dedicated fitness and play space.

Through sustainable building and growing, Ch’ich’iyúy prioritizes a connection to nature in an urban setting. A “rooftop meadow” with low grasses and native plantings is a verdant addition that maximizes green space and views of the North Shore mountains.

On the top floor is a rooftop longhouse — a place for residents to gather, feast, and come together to engage in Indigenous cultural practices and traditions. Designed to accommodate feasts of up to 70 people, the space includes everything you need to host a large gathering, including a serving kitchen and movable furnishings.

Also located within the rooftop area is the sky garden, which boasts mountain views, a community BBQ, firepits, an outdoor dining area, and a play space for kids.

To learn more about this accessible homeownership opportunity, you can visit chichiyuy.ca

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